Tongue Tie/Lip Tie

New Teeth Dental
Dr Kali Hale
2750 West Main St., Suite D
League City, TX 77573
Ph: 281-957-6294

What is tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia)
occurs when the thin piece of skin under the baby’s tongue, the lingual
frenulum, is very short and restricts the movement of the tongue. The tongue is
not mobile enough for the baby to attach properly to the breast. It is three
times more common in males than females and can run in families, especially
those with MTHFR variations.

Some babies with tongue-tie are able to latch to the breast and suck well.
However, many have breastfeeding problems, such as nipple damage, poor milk
transfer and low weight gains in the baby, and recurrent blocked ducts or
mastitis due to ineffective milk removal.

What is an upper lip-tie?

An upper lip-tie is where a piece of skin under the baby’s upper lip, the labial
frenulum, is very short or thick and is attached too tightly to the upper gum.
This can restrict movement of the upper lip preventing it from being able to
flange out or ‘pull out’. This can make it difficult for babies to attach to the
breast correctly as it is harder for them to maintain a good seal. In older
children and adolescents, an upper lip-tie can be associated with a gap between
the front teeth. Sometimes this is only a cosmetic issue, but it can make it
difficult for a baby to breastfeed.

Why is a tongue-tie a problem for breastfeeding?

A baby needs to be able to cup the breast with his tongue to be
able to remove milk from the breast well. If the tongue is anchored to the floor
of the mouth, the baby cannot do this as well. The baby may not be able to open
his mouth wide enough to take in a full mouthful of breast tissue. This can
result in ‘nipple-feeding’ because the nipple is not drawn far enough back in
the baby’s mouth and constantly rubs against the baby’s hard palate as he feeds.
As a result, the mother is likely to suffer nipple trauma.